Ayyappa Jyothi to lead Kerala to world of light

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Ayyappa Jyothi to lead Kerala to world of light

Wednesday, 26 December 2018 | Kumar Chellappan | KOCHI/CHENNAI

Wednesday evening will see people in the three southern States of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu lighting millions of lamps  (Ayyappa Jyothi) as a mark of solidarity with the devotees of Lord Ayyappa who are engaged in a battle of nerves with the Government of Kerala over the entry of women in the child bearing age to the holy shrine of Sabarimala.

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had ruled on September 28 that women of all ages should be allowed to worship at the Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala atop the Western Ghats in Kerala. The devotees of Lord Ayyappa are upset over the verdict and had requested women devotees in the 10 to 50 age group not to make it to the temple.

But the CPI-M led Kerala Government, in its anxiety to implement the court order has made elaborate security arrangements for facilitating the entry of women to the temple, where women had been denied entry as per age old tradition.

“This Ayyappa Jyothi is an effort to lead Kerala to a world of light. There is an attempt to destroy the plurality and diversity of the temples in Kerala and the Ayyapa Jyothi is an attempt to expose this mission as well as an offering to the God with a prayer to inculcate good thoughts in the mind of the powers that be,” said Swamy Chidanandapuri, head, Advaitha Ashram and the chief patron of the Sabarimala Karma Samithi.

He pointed out that it was for the Acharya Dharma Sabha, Thantric, Vedic and Astrological scholars to study the need to make changes in the Agama Saasthras and take a final decision. “Why only one religion has been singled out by the authorities in the name of reformation while they are reluctant to make any comment on the goings on in other religions?  That is not fair and it is against secularism,” said the Swamiji, described as spiritual leader of the Hindus in the State.

Govind Bharathan, senior lawyer, Kerala High Court and one of the prominent faces of Sabarimala Karma Samithi described  the Ayyappa Jyothi as a unique event. “Besices the 795 km stretch from Mangalore in Karnataka to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, many districts in these three  States will light up Ayyappa Jyothi. We will recite “Swamy Saranam” while doing so and there will be no speeches or slogans,” said Bharathan.

He said that not a single woman devotee had come to Sabarimala on their own till Tuesday evening. “Those women who came to Sabarimala were all activists who had declared that they were undertaking the trip only to shatter the convention and tradition. They were all self-proclaimed  atheists and  non-believers,” said Bharathan.  Wedneday will see the 41st day of this year’s festival and the Ayyappa Jyothi is expected to add splendour to it. 

Swamy Chidanandapuri lambasted the efforts by a section of the society to portray the denial of rights to women for worshipping at Sabarimala as part of casteism. “According to custom and tradition in vogue in Sabarimala, women are not allowed here. Please understand that this is the only holy shrine situated deep inside a forest and there are scientific reasons  behind this  custom,” said Swamiji.  

“There are many Supreme Court verdicts which were delivered earlier to the Sabarimala case. But the Kerala Government’s anxiety to implement this particular verdict is dubious,” said Prayar Gopalakrishnan, Congress leader and former president of Travancore Devaswam Board.

Meanwhile, the CPI-M led Government is working overtime to make the proposed Women’s Wall on January 1 a major success.  Hectic activities are on to light up Ayyappa Jyothi in temples across Chennai, according to K Asokan and Pravin Pillai, devotees and activists.

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